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TxDOT breaks ground on southbound I-35 project

New entrance and exit lanes hope to relieve the ongoing bottleneck on southbound Interstate 35 at US 79.

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) broke ground on the Interstate 35 at US 79 southbound project Wednesday morning, which plans to relieve the bottleneck along the Round Rock interstate. TxDOT was joined by officials from Williamson County, the City of Round Rock and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for the ground breaking. 

The Texas Clear Lanes project will construct an extended entrance and exit lane between US 79 and State Highway 45 North to eliminate merging congestion. The median barrier will also be shifted, meaning southbound I-35 main lanes will be restriped. High-mast lighting will be added throughout the stretch. 

There has been $8.4 million budgeted for the project and it is expected to be finished by 2023. The TxDOT website said driver benefits will include reduced congestion, improved mobility, increased efficiency, reliable travel times and lower fuel consumption. 

“If you’ve driven on this section of I-35, you know it backs up at all hours of the day,” said TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson. “This project should eliminate merging conflicts, while addressing congestion and improving safety and mobility along this portion of the highway in Williamson County.”

The project broke ground at 10:30 a.m. on March 9. Officials are hopeful the project will improve mobility and safety in Williamson County. The contractor is civil engineering and construction firm JD Abrams L.P.

“Improving mobility and traffic flow throughout Round Rock is one of our top priorities, and we appreciate TxDOT’s partnership in providing relief for drivers along the I-35 corridor,” said Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan.

Austin's I-35 came in at No. 15 on the list of 100 congested roadways across the U.S. in 2021, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

RELATED: Austin is planning a 'cap and stitch' project for I-35. Here's what that could look like

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